“In the Bleak Mid-Winter”
United Methodist Hymnal – #221
. . . but his mother only, in her maiden bliss,
worshipped the beloved with a kiss.
At this point, we have examined nearly every aspect of the Advent/Christmas season. On the four Sundays of Advent we have lit (or will light) candles representing hope, joy, peace, and love. Those, by the way, should be year round practices, not just things we think about during Advent. So much of the story is bigger than life; Angels, Wise Men, Shepherds. But amidst all the celebration, we often look right past the more intimate side of the story. A baby was born. Mary had been visited by an angel and told that she was chosen to birth God’s Son. She very well could have dealt with morning sickness, decreased energy, swollen ankles, odd cravings, and all the other things that can accompany pregnancy. And then there’s the pain involved with giving birth (that you forget? Really?) And giving birth in a stable? Today that would be akin to giving birth in a taxi. And the only person to help is the hapless father? Well, I might paint a negative picture, but I think it’s important to keep this miracle at a human level. That was the point, wasn’t it? God incarnate, Emmanuel. So what could be more human than a mother and child. And amidst all the activity, a mother gently kisses her baby. It’s really a call to rethink our own celebrations. Big parties and special events can be fun, but as Christmas Day approaches, let’s focus on the more intimate side. Hold tight to those you love. Celebrate your relationships and treasure your loved ones.
And all that heard it wondered at those things
told them by the shepherds.
But Mary kept these things and pondered them in her heart.
Loving God, return our hearts to Bethlehem. Let us experience again the young mother and her infant son. We hush, in awe at the humble surroundings, cradling a King. Let us remember, Lord, our loved ones. May we embrace each other as a mother cradles her baby. Fill our hearts with love and appreciation that no one might feel unloved or taken for granted. Amen.